Yes, it is once again grade time, and once again I have 80 gazillion students insisting that they turned everything in. Except it somehow magically disappeared between their hands and the tray where they turn things in. Maybe I have elves in my classroom! Thieving elves!
I figured it out one time -- I handle somewhere in the range of 11,000 papers per year. In all the time I have been teaching, I have lost...none. And yet, amazingly, every six weeks (or three if I give midterms) I get to hear the "I turned it in" Song. It goes something like this:
I turned it in (I swear, I swear)
It's just not here (not here not here)
I put it in the tray,
It must have run away,
So won't you take off all those zeros so I can get an A?
Tune varies based on student preference.
Is it break yet?